Freshman Zack Larson wasn’t quite sure what to expect when the Lakewood Ranch High coaching staff opted to move him to safety earlier this spring.
But after only having played the position for three weeks, the former junior varsity quarterback appears to be adapting just fine to the transition.
“I was a quarterback at the beginning of last year, but the coaches saw something in me — I don’t know what it was — but they picked me to be a safety,” Larson said.
Larson got to put his newfound defensive skills to the test during the Mustangs’ spring game versus Cape Coral Island Coast May 29.
In his first taste of varsity action, Larson picked the ball off twice in the fourth quarter to help preserve Lakewood’s 20-14 lead.
“I was excited and I tried to score both times, but I saw people in front of me,” Larson said. “The last one in the fourth quarter made more of an (impact) because it allowed the offense to be more relaxed and it gave them confidence to do their thing.”
Larson began playing football when he was 8 years old while living in Virginia. Having played baseball for as long as he can remember, Larson decided to give another sport a try and quickly settled on football.
After moving to Florida five years ago, Larson joined the Police Athletic League’s youth football program where he played up until this year. Larson spent his freshman season playing junior varsity football and varsity baseball and basketball.
Now after a year of junior varsity football and adding three inches to his frame, Larson is hoping that with some hard work and mental preparation, he’ll earn a spot on the varsity squad.
And Lakewood coach Shawn Trent is already eager to see what the future holds for Larson this fall.
“He’s going to be pretty good,” Trent said. “We’re hoping he puts on another 10 pounds over the summer, but he’s a pretty exciting kid. He played quarterback on JV for us last year as a freshman and I know he played some varsity baseball and basketball as a freshman, so he’s got a chance to be one heck of an athlete.”
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